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GSMA Announces Winners of Mobile Broadband Notebook Competition to Serve New Market Segment
Feb 11, 2008 (06:02 AM EST)

BARCELONA, Spain, February 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The GSM Association (GSMA), representing the global mobile industry, today announced Dell and Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) as the winners of its Mobile Broadband Notebook competition to stimulate the recently identified - though currently untapped - mass market segment for notebook PCs with embedded Mobile Broadband (HSPA) connectivity.

The competition was announced following the most extensive market research programme(i) ever undertaken into the consumer market for mobile computing, published by the GSMA and Microsoft last year. The research revealed a potential 70 million-unit opportunity, worth some US $50 billion in 2008. Originally calling for Mobile Broadband notebooks in the sub $1000 (USD) price range, the competition has resulted in two winning products both at a sub US $800 price, bringing affordable Mobile Broadband computing a step closer.

"We announced this competition last November to challenge the world's Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to meet this demand for Mobile Broadband notebooks, " said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA and Member of the Board. "I'm pleased to announce Dell and ECS as the winners, as both have risen to the challenge and developed well thought-out notebooks offering the right price and out-of-the-box connectivity."

Dell, with its Inspiron 1525 device, won as the Best Commercially Available Mobile Broadband Notebook. ECS, headquartered in Taiwan, was chosen as a winner for producing a Best Pre-Commercial Mobile Broadband Notebook, the G10IL, an innovative design selected for its feature rich package, close match to consumer needs at an affordable price and a compact and light form factor.

The Steering Committee, comprising supporting operators including Orange, Vodafone, Telefonica O2, TeliaSonera, Telecom Italia, Telstra, Maxis, DTAC, MTN and Turkcell, also recognised Fujitsu Siemens Computers for a high quality submission - the ESPRIMO Mobile V5555 - and for its commitment to mass-market Mobile Broadband computing.

Those who took part in the competition included original design manufacturers (ODMs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Participants were asked to propose new notebook designs that would meet the needs of this new market opportunity. All were required to provide detailed specifications for their designs as well as time to market information, recommended retail price-points, support services and information on how they would work with operators to promote activation, configuration and ease of use.

"Dell is very proud to be recognized by the GSMA as having the best commercially available mobile broadband notebook," said Ron Garriques, president of Dell's global consumer group. "Easy, affordable connectivity through built-in mobile broadband is a signature feature of Dell's portfolio of notebooks, and the Inspiron 1525 embodies those industry-leading mobile broadband design and performance characteristics."

"We are delighted to have been selected by the GSMA and the panel of operators as one of the winners for our Mobile Broadband notebook design," said David Chen, President of Mobile Product Business Unit, ECS. "We recognised this huge demand for mass market notebooks embedded with Mobile Broadband and invested sizeable resources to help make this opportunity a reality."

The Mobile Broadband Notebook competition is one of a number of GSMA led initiatives for 2008 that will stimulate mobile computing. Announcements concerning additional GSMA programmes supported by leading mobile operators, notebook vendors and other key stakeholders are anticipated before the end of March 2008.

These initiatives will help consumers make better-informed choices when purchasing Mobile Broadband embedded notebooks and to benefit from an improved 'out-of-the-box' experience. This will all help to enhance the user experience, making it easier to enjoy the services and applications highlighted by in the research programme, such as communication and entertainment.

"We've been encouraged by the quality of innovation and we look forward to seeing a swathe of new Mobile Broadband notebook devices aimed at mass-market consumers in the future. The GSMA will continue to encourage and nurture new developments that support the growth of this exciting new market segment," added Rob Conway.

Supporting quotes:

"Our customers want the most effective way to work and play, regardless of where they are. This is why we implemented mobile broadband early on, and continue to integrate UMTS across our complete notebook portfolio," said Louis Jouanny, Head of Mobile Marketing EMEA, Fujitsu Siemens Computers. "Customer response has made us the market leader in EMEA for integrated UMTS notebooks."

"Through MTN South Africa's relationship with the GSMA, we assisted in managing the South African leg of the world-wide research project. Internet access in South Africa is still underdeveloped and we believe that a mass market proposition is key in addressing the current market need," said Ashraff Paruk, Head of Business Strategy and Business Development, MTN SA. "The design of the Mobile Broadband Notebook whilst it goes a long way towards aligning our own commitment to wireless broadband, we still believe the OEM's have a few more bold steps to make to address this emerging mass market."

"Orange is delighted to see that OEM suppliers are now in a strong position to deliver affordable and well designed 3G embedded laptops to the market place," said Yves Tyrode, Senior VP, Technocentre, Orange. "This is a key factor to develop mobile data usage and will give our customers a strong incentive to subscribe to Orange services. It is a clear step forward for the mass market after the success of our services on the business market."

"Mass market Mobile Broadband laptops are the first example of a new class of companion devices bringing a new customer experience to everybody. This project has highlighted a significant opportunity for the industry," said Luca Luciani, Telecom Italia General Manager of Domestic Mobile Services.

"Mass-market notebooks with built-in mobile broadband are seen by TeliaSonera as one of the strategic devices supporting the evolution towards the true Internet experience in a mobile environment. Making it easy, adoptable and affordable for the customer are the key elements for making this a stayable phenomenon," said Claes Bidemar, VP Terminals and SIM Business Area Mobility Services TeliaSonera.

"Telstra has seen strong demand for on-the-move high-speed connectivity in the Australian market. Our Next G, 3GSM 850 MHz network, the world's largest nationwide 3GSM network, has driven 3G mobile penetration from a few per cent to 35 per cent of our total mobile base in only 15 months and we are on target to reach 50 to 70 percent by 2010," said Sol Trujillo, Chief Executive Officer of Telstra Corporation Ltd. "The percentage of our 3G post-paid subscribers who are using wireless broadband from their laptops is now at 15%."

"We look forward to expanding the range of embedded Next G(tm) wireless broadband notebooks through this GSMA mass-market mobile broadband computing initiative," added Sol Trujillo.

"We, as Turkcell, support the proliferation of 3G/HSPA embedded notebooks enabling mobile users' data connectivity. We also encourage all notebook vendors for availability of affordable 3G/HSPA embedded notebooks for emerging markets," said Lale Saral Develioglu, CMO, Turkcell.

"Vodafone has long been the leader in the provision of 3G broadband and we were pleased to see the level of interest in driving further adoption through this competition. We see built-in 3G broadband as the natural next step in the evolution of PC connectivity, following on from our pioneering work introducing Mobile Connect Cards, USB Modems and brokering the first deals to build-in mobile connectivity on the notebook," said Oliver Mauss, Director of Business Product marketing, Vodafone Group. "The GSMA research shows that there is clear demand for mobile access to the internet - increasingly with consumers if the look and feel is right, and further innovation in this area can only be good for the industry as a whole."

Notes to Editors:

(i)The Market Research programme, undertaken by Pyramid Research and published by the GSMA and Microsoft in November 2007, was carried out with the support of twelve operators across 13 countries and included more than 12,000 consumer interviews. It revealed a gap of potentially 46.5 million units between recent industry analyst forecasts and the new analysis, suggesting an untapped potential market segment existed that PC manufacturers had yet to plan for. This resulted in the GSMA launching the competition to identify new manufacturers and devices able to serve anticipated consumer demand.

About the GSMA:

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association's initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers. The Association's members serve more than 2.5 billion customers - 85% of the world's mobile phone users.

CONTACT: For further information contact: Mark Smith / David Pringle, GSM Email:press@gsm.orgAssociation, .